Curly hair requires a special kind of care—just ask girls who’ve spent their entire lives dealing with a tangled mess of locks every morning (like me!). But the varying shapes, sizes, quirks, twists and knots nothwithstanding, there’s still a lot of reasons why having curls can be so much fun.
Sure, managing your wild and often unruly hair isn’t easy, but with a proper hair routine and a bit of help from some ~magical~ products, you can flaunt your sexy curls with more confidence and less stress. Heed our hair care tips below:
1. Comb the right way.
The road to achieving effortless, gorgeous locks starts with giving up your bad hair habits. If there is one unspoken rule for curly-haired girls, it would have to be to never, ever use a brush. Combing your hair with a brush doesn’t only create a frizzy mess, but also wreaks havoc to your curls. Not only do you risk losing your hair’s natural curl pattern, but it also actually makes you more prone to having split ends (yikes!).
What to do: Swap your hair brush for a wide-toothed comb. When combing wet or dry hair, make sure that you start from the bottom, working your way up. The trick here is to slowly detangle the knots on your ends first, instead of forcibly pulling the comb through the length of your hair. If you can, use your fingers to detangle your ends. This gives you greater control and keeps your hair curl pattern intact.
2. Add a “pre-shampoo” step to your hair routine.
The name speaks for itself: Pre-shampooing is an additional step that you take right before you lather your hair with your regular shampoo. Essentially, you apply a conditioner, oil, or mask to moisturize your locks, so hair doesn’t get stripped off of moisture when you shampoo. This is extra helpful for those with dry, delicate, and dull strands, as it softens curly hair and creates a protective layering over your tresses. The downside: It can be time-consuming, so you can limit doing this to just once or twice a week, or when your locks are feeling extra parched.
How to do it: Before you shower, divide your hair into sections and apply your product—a hair mask, oil, or conditioner—over dry strands. Tuck hair in a shower cap and leave on for about 15 to 20 minutes. Next, rinse hair with running water, and proceed to shower as usual. Do note that you will still need to condition after you shampoo to really pack the moisture in.
3. Choose your shampoo wisely.
Unlike other hair types, curly hair requires less shampooing. Since this type of hair is usually innately dry, regular use of shampoo—especially those loaded with sulfates—will only lead to more frizziness and can stress out your curls big time. It strips hair of its natural oils, making it prone to damage and dryness.
If you can, you may limit your shampoo usage to every other day, or switch to formulas that are packed with hydrators and other nourishing ingredients such as argan oil, like the Eva NYC Clean It Up Shampoo. You can also opt for sulfate-free, natural formulas for a more gentle clean.
4. Conditioners are your best friend.
On days when you’re not using shampoo when washing your hair, conditioners are your go-to products in the shower. Remember, curly hair is always thirsty for moisture and protein, so you really have to condition like you mean it!
When applying, it’s best to focus on spreading the product on the lengths and ends of your hair, rather than on your scalp. (Your scalp’s natural oils will take care of that area!) Remember to condition daily, too, and leave the product on for at least three to five minutes before rinsing off.
5. Skip the hot water.
Indulging in a warm bath is a great way to relax and de-stress. But when it comes to washing your curly hair, it’s better to turn the heat down. Colder water is less likely to strip off the natural oils and instead helps lock in moisture, promoting healthier hair. If you must shower with warm water, make sure to use cold water for your final rinse—to seal in hair’s cuticles.
6. Keep an oil or leave-on conditioner handy for touch-ups.
Because curly hair is more easily affected by temperature changes, it’s best to be ready for any occasion by always toting a styling product—like a lightweight hair oil or a leave-on conditioner—so you can instantly fix or remedy any mid-day frizziness or tangles.
7. Let your hair dry naturally.
Too much heat styling can be extra damaging for any type of hair—moreso for curly hair. Instead, ditch these heating tools and opt to air-dry your locks instead. (Just make sure to apply your leave-on conditioner or oil before leaving the house!) Remember: Keep your hands off of your hair when it’s still drying, since continuously handling your curls will only cause them to lose their natural shape or become more frizzy.
8. Replace your scratchy towels and pillow covers.
We’re talking about those overly-rough towels and coarse pillowcases—their harsh fibers can cause unwanted breakage and contribute to frizz! Give your curls the VIP treatment and invest in soft microfiber towels and silk or satin pillow covers.
9. Visit your hairstylist often.
To keep your locks in tip-top shape, get a trim at your favorite salon every four to six weeks to get rid of those pesky split ends and make hair less prone to breakage. Plus, consider this as your hair’s regular checkup—when a professional can check out your locks and see if there are any issues like dryness or dullness that need to be addressed. The best part? Some good ol’ salon pampering, complete with head massage and shoulder rub, is always good for the soul!
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